Monday, April 18, 2011

"The Living Thing"

I was thinking about a particular responsibility this morning, and the peace of the heart it brings to fulfill it. The thought occurred to me, "It's just the right thing to do." This was true, but another perspective immediately followed, which I think is more literally descriptive of the believer's doings: "It's the living thing to do."
"To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ believe in right and wrong, as the Bible defines both moral aspects of our existence. However, our faith in Christ and subsequent obedience to Him involves far more than merely making good and bad choices of what to think, do and say. We believe that the living Lord Jesus is present with us and within us. We believe that He is our very life, and that obedience to God is the fruit of His indwelling Spirit (Colossians 3:4. We believe that when we fulfill the will of God that Christ is living in us and we are living by Him. Thus, matters of obedience and disobedience are more literally matters of life and death than right and wrong.
"If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13).
These words of the Apostle Paul were written to and about believers. They do not refer to physical death or the "second death" of eternal condemnation mentioned in the book of Revelation (Revelation 21:8). Paul's statement rather concerns our practical, day to day experience of the Christ who is our life. Are we consistently walking in the Spirit, and thus motivated, led and empowered by the glorious Life that inhabits the innermost temple of our redeemed selfhood? Or are we walking after the flesh, which possesses no inherent spiritual life? Believers are alive in Christ. But are we truly living?
"If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:10-11).
We are alive, always alive in our spirits because the Spirit of Christ dwells therein. But is that life consistently controlling and empowering the faculties and members of our earthly humanity? Life and death. This is the essence of the believer's experience, more than right and wrong. It's a more serious matter because obedience and disobedience are recognized as originating in a far deeper place in us than merely our capacity to make proper decisions concerning good and bad. Again, to live is Christ. Anything else is death, as God defines death. May we realize and rejoice in the Life that teems within our enlivened spirits. "Reckon ye also yourselves to be... alive unto God" (Romans 6:11). And thereby may we "choose life" by trusting and submitting ourselves to the risen Lord Jesus who purposes not only to dwell in us, but to walk in us...
"I will dwell in them and walk in them... In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (Deuteronomy 30:19; II Corinthians 6:16; I John 4:9)

No comments: